Marine Mammal Mitigation Procedures in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN)
Joseph Chupick, Mark
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Anthropogenic noise in the world’s oceans has the potential to adversely impact marine mammals. Much research has gone into determining these impacts but the specifics are subject to some debate. Noise emitted by the oil and gas industry in the conduct of seismic surveys, and the noise generated from naval active sonar pulses, are two key sources. Many nations, including Canada, have passed legislation to protect marine mammals. More specifically, in order to mitigate the impacts from seismic surveys on the marine environment, a series of measures has been developed in Canada in the form of the Statement of Canadian Practice with respect to the Mitigation of Seismic Sound in the Marine Environment. The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has used this as the basis for developing its own mitigation procedures for active sonars. This project involved the refinement of mitigation procedures in the RCN, to validate and/or amend them based on a review of scientific studies, and re-promulgate them by means of an overarching policy document that was coincidentally under development. Further, to implement this policy more effectively, detailed procedural manuals required amendment, and the training of personnel involved in operating and managing the use of active sonars was reviewed.